eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (FF + Dinosaur comics = best icon ever)
Okay. So. It's supposed to get up to 35+ today, and it hit 41 yesterday. But it was freezing last night.

What does that mean? Well, mostly it means that I wrenched my back and my ankle not-falling-down on my nextdoor neighbor's sidewalk. Which is covered in black ice. Apparently they don't sand or salt or anything. PAH.

Fortunately, it is a Wednesday, and I don't carry my laptop to campus on Wednesdays, so all I have to worry about is twisting an ankle or beating up my Turkish textbook. But it is supposed to be like this again tomorrow, pah.

On the other hand, high near thirty-six. I'm not wearing a sweater! Or long underwear! Or wool socks! Or a scarf and a hat and gloves! And it's only twenty-eight right now. Heaven knows what thirty-six will feel like. Heaven, I imagine. I'll get a smoothie because I'll be so overheated.

***

I hope to go the the Philadelphia Flower Show the weekend before spring break, btw, which should be the weekend of the ninth. Perhaps I will see some of y'all there? Student tickets at the door are a mere $15.

LJ Talk

Jul. 25th, 2006 07:43 am
eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
Hmmmm. This lj-talk thing is pretty sweet -- it's your flist! as a contact list! in jabber! And it does, as many people pointed out, eliminate that "wait, who is xzyabc?" problem I have with some AIM and Y!M usernames. Also, posting via IM is neat, if not the most useful posting tool. (Then again, I still don't post by e-mail or anything. Call me a traditionalist.)

Just one problem: it would've helped if, presented with a login box that didn't look like lj's, I could've remembered my password. I stared at that box for ages, going "wait, wait, it's... no. wait, it's... no, that's gmail." I had to go to lj and log out and log back in without thinking before I could remember said password. Oy.

ETA: Philadelphia, please stop trying to be Ankh-Morpork. Ankh-Morpork will win.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
Woe. Power out. Need power! Need A/C! Instructions from Weather Gods (i.e. National Weather Service) are to remain inside with A/C or fan on. (Except also to avoid polluting.) It is 100 degrees outside. There is no breeze.

[livejournal.com profile] m_shell: I feel like it's one of those cannibal movies, you know. First guy: it's really quiet. Second guy: too quiet.

Yes, the air conditioning units have been silenced for blocks. And it's so hot that no one is outside, so there's no street noise. Dead. Quiet.

Ooooh, there it is again. Beautiful electricity. *pets*
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
Something I will not miss about Philadelphia: being basically instructed to avoid moving around outdoors, as it is "unhealthy for sensitive groups." I mean, I would feel free to ignore the recommendation, if it weren't for the fact that walking three blocks at even a plodding pace makes me wheeze. The combination of the heat, the humidity, and the high particle pollution feels like physical pressure against my chest, like I'm weighted down. I enjoy walking. I like to meander along the Kelly Drive walking path, past all the ridiculous public art and the museum and the boathouses and the bridges, and then walk the couple extra miles to go grocery shopping downtown. It irritates me that this would be unpleasantly sticky (the heat) and unpleasantly asthma-attack-inducing (the pollution). I could deal with just unpleasantly sticky; Ithaca was unpleasantly sticky when I walked my eight miles to various apartments. But the inability to breathe slows me down rather a lot.

Philadelphia can't really decide how to deal with high-pollution days, though. In the Bay Area, they do Spare the Air and bribe everyone into taking public transit by making it all free. Here, they tell us that we should bike or take public transit to work, but also that we should avoid exercise or being outdoors too much because of the heat, and they don't seem to see the conflict there. (They also tell us to turn our a/c units down or off, to reduce the pollution. And then they say that we should spend time in a cool, well-ventilated, air-conditioned area, to reduce the risk of heat prostration. Um. Yes. I'll get on that, as soon as I can figure out how.)

I told [livejournal.com profile] m_shell the other day that we'd hit the first of several days of "unhealthy for sensitive groups" warnings, and she said "Philadelphia is unhealthy for sensitive groups."
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
So I was sitting on the sofa, post-brunch, pondering the state of the universe, when suddenly I heard fluttering and thumping. Rather like the sound of an injured bird, in fact, so I headed over to the window to see if a bird had thumped it and landed on the outside part of the air conditioner.

No. In fact, it was a just-out-of-babyhood sparrow between the two windows. Problem: this window is basically decorative; we've never opened the window because, well, huge air conditioning unit and landlord painted inside window shut to, one presumes, prevent us from accidentally dropping said AC on anyone. Problem two: even if we managed to open the inside window (no sure thing), the bird probably would not fly toward us. Problem three: if it did, then we would just have a freaked out bird in the apartment. But the bird was sitting on the AC between the windows, and trying to fly up to get out, when the only space to get outside was actually on either side of the AC below said bird. Recalling the experience of our summer apartment-sitter, I tried getting high up to scare the bird down rather than up. Eventually, this or something else worked (thank heavens, because I was just about to attempt to open the window) and the bird flew free. Free!

WTF, sparrow.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
The good:

1. My folks are in Philadelphia! They are visiting for a conference, but they've got some free time and will be touristing around a bit.

2. Bartram's Garden on the Schuylkill. Bartram's Garden is the oldest (extant) botanical garden in the U.S., and, although it is very small, rather a lot of fun. Plus it's right on the river; John Bartram traveled by boat, so the house and gardens face the dock. Bartram's Garden is also the location of the Franklin tree, which the Bartrams saved from extinction, and of the oldest known gingko tree in the country. And it is free. And you can sit by the water. Altogether yay.

3. [livejournal.com profile] m_shell, who is the best girlfriend ever, brought me a chocolate cheesecake brownie from Metropolitan Bakery. Incredibly good stuff, that.

The bad:
1. Headache undefeated by painkillers.

2. Hot. World = too hot.

3. Problems with plumbing AGAIN. Toilet running AGAIN. Have to call landlord to call stupid handyman AGAIN. Maybe this time it will actually be fixed for good. (Ha.)

The ugly:

1. Very bad case of contact dermatitis on hands, and I don't know what new and different thing I've decided to be allergic to now. (Not that it would make a difference; I'm avoiding everything until it goes away, and it wouldn't go away any faster if I worked out that it was the hand soap in the bathroom versus the new sponges in the kitchen.) It's itchy and hot and makes my hands look alien and swollen and awful. As I told [livejournal.com profile] m_shell, if my hands are going to look like somebody else's hands, they could at least make the somebody else itch instead of me.
eruthros: Yoda in Dagobah swamp, caption "slimy? mudhole? my fandom this is!" (SW - slimy mudhole fandom)
It's starting to be the kind of weather that makes me think longingly of air conditioning. And want to eat nothing but cold pasta salad and ice cream. (Not together.) We recently received a birthday package from [livejournal.com profile] sineala and [livejournal.com profile] lysimache, and in it we found Herrells chocolate-almond sauce. I could eat this stuff forever; we're going to have to get more vanilla ice cream.

Dear Philadelphia: upper seventies at the most, okay? or at least a strong breeze? no love, [livejournal.com profile] eruthros

*

This morning, while the rice pudding was baking, we finally hauled all the bags of books up from the car and sorted them out. This is always the astonishing part of the BookExpo process, as you attempt to remember when (or why) you picked up some of the books you find in the bag. Or the tschotchkes - why do we have two t-shirts that say "in space, no one can hear you read?" and what are they advertising?

In any case, expect a post on the subject of "um, somehow we seem to have picked up three copies of the Dave Barry book" and "we got this signed to you but we don't remember your address" soon.

I have to highlight one particular inscribed book here, though, even though we don't have extra copies of it. It's Broken Trail, which I've been calling "the ni hao book." Yes, that's right: I smiled politely at Alan Geoffrion and asked him if he would sign a copy to my friend [livejournal.com profile] joie_de_livre, a librarian in the Bay Area. I did not mention that I wanted a copy for her because she had come up with the best summary imaginable for his book. I thought it might be rude, given... well:

The publicist's summary: A hardened old rancher crosses paths with five Chinese women being forced into prostitution.
[livejournal.com profile] joie_de_livre's take: "Ni hao, ni hao, ni hao, ni hao, ni hao, ni howdy!"

So, [livejournal.com profile] joie_de_livre, expect the ni hao book any day now!

Bleh

May. 22nd, 2006 07:43 pm
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
There's nothing like getting back from a long trip to discover that the toilet now runs constantly to the point of overflowing and the bathroom sink is stopped up. Whee, waiting for a plumber. Whee, letting in the plumber and being self-conscious about mess in hallway. Whee, plumber running in and out and me in pajamas. Whee, inability to take a shower because neither the plumber nor the landlord ever calls before coming over. Altogether whee. (Plumber has now been and gone and things appear to be fixed. Probably.)

However, the BEA was fun if exhausting, as per.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
I'm beginning to think these shoes are cursed.

See, I got them (in the right size, finally!) Wednesday night and wore them to work yesterday, a day which, as we all know, did not exactly go swimmingly.

And I put said shoes on again this morning and left the house right on time... only to discover that my train, which had been running ten minutes late all week, had picked today to be three minutes early and was pulling into the station as I rounded the corner nearly a quarter-mile and two staircases away. I did that split-second mental math to answer the question "should I run for the train?" (Mental math that public transit users are used to: How far away is it? Is there a chance at all that I can make it? When is the next train? How late will I be if I catch that one? Can I run in these shoes? One doesn't just run indiscriminately, because there's nothing more depressing than running for your train and missing it anyway, left to collapse on the platform. If you decide not to run for it, then at least you can pretend it was a choice.) Anyway, my mental math answer was "maybe," and thus I discovered that these shoes are great for sprinting, though Philadelphia's air remains crap for same.

I also discovered that this bra is not so great for sprinting, but perhaps that got me onto the train -- there was no-one left on the platform but a single conductor who was getting back on the train, and they were about to take off, when I rounded the top of the stairs shouting "please wait!" Wearing my low-cut not-entirely-opaque tailored white and purple striped shirt and a kind of fallen down bra. And they did wait.

And I am proud of myself, because not only did I make the train, I made the train in front of three women who were running (admittedly, in heels) from twenty feet and two staircases away. (Since I hit the platform just as they were about to take off, those women managed to get on to the train, too, because they got to the platform in the time it took me to get onto the train.)

Anyway! The train wasn't late, and didn't make any inexplicable stops, a great improvement over most of the week... until we get to suburban station, where we wait for twenty minutes. And then I head over to the trolley platform at 30th Street... only it's cordoned off. All five trolley routes were diverted to 40th Street Station. So it's onto the El (which is at that point underground) and to 40th Street and then, slowly, to work.

See, there are five trolley routes. They don't merge until they go underground, on a normal day. When they're all five diverted to the above-ground tracks, that means five trolley routes, each with a trolley running every four minutes during commute hours, sharing two-lane city streets with commute traffic. And that means huge, huge lines of trolleys backed up for blocks whenever they need to turn, because cars are blocking the intersection or running the red. And all five routes have to make an unprotected left turn in university city, home of lo these many pedestrians and drivers and nobody lets anyone in here, so. (This also means that there are huge, huge lines and crowds on the Lucy Loop shuttles around campus, and that it takes ten minutes to drive a single block down Spruce, and that Crazy Philadelphia Drivers are making illegal u-turns and driving the wrong way through alleys and driving whole streets in reverse to get out of the bad traffic. Whee.)

Oh, and the why and wherefore of all of this, which I didn't get from any of the Official SEPTA representatives in their shiny vests, but from the most useful tool in the SEPTA information network (i.e., stand by the doorway and gossip with the driver; making comments about something you just saw one of those aforementioned Crazy Philadelphia Drivers do is a good way to start this conversation). Once I had internet access, I confirmed it: there was a transformer fire downtown. At two am. And it's still not cleaned up. Of course.

Also, today we expect an estimate on the body+suspension damage of the car. Which, I may remind you, we have had for little more than six weeks. (Fortunately, the insurance folks are sending a guy to our mechanic in person today, to make arrangements for payment, and they are in fact waiving the deductible, so we don't have to deal with it at all. I point out that this news came after I took my shoes off yesterday.)

I dunno, though, somehow the whole thing was so ridiculous that I'm almost cheery about it. It's making me want an icon that says "no, Vir, the universe is an evil place, but it least it has a sense of humor about the whole thing."

[livejournal.com profile] darthrami, on the other hand, is concerned:
[livejournal.com profile] eruthros: [like I said last night] THESE SHOES ARE CURSED.
[livejournal.com profile] darthrami: oh noes
[livejournal.com profile] darthrami: what happened?
[livejournal.com profile] eruthros: [provides link]
[livejournal.com profile] darthrami: I TOLD you this would happen
[livejournal.com profile] eruthros: THE WORLD WILL EXPLODE IF I WEAR THESE SHOES TOMORROW.
[livejournal.com profile] darthrami: for god's sake, don't do it!

I am currently accepting bids. Dear SEPTA: for a modest sum, I promise to never wear these shoes during commute hours again.

Random!

Apr. 18th, 2006 07:49 pm
eruthros: Wizard of Oz: Dorothy in black and white, text "rainbow" in rainbow colors (Dorothy singing rainbow)
1. From this axcessnews article on gay parents and the Easter events at the White House:

Rueben Israel, 43, of Los Angeles, flew in for the protest, knowing the homosexual families would attend the event. He demonstrated with electric cables how he saw those relationships as not being right in God's eyes.

"This doesn't work," he said, holding two yellow cables by their plugs and pushing them together.

He then turned one plug around so it would fit into the socket: "This works."

*rolls eyes* Ah, the "God created extension cords as exemplars of the ideal human relationship" theory. In this theory, I suppose, God created humans in his image in 1904, when electrical plugs were patented. (Though that too proves problematic: who then patented the plug?) Either that or Harvey Hubbell is an unknown prophet. Or (my favorite) this man is NUTS. I mean, does he seriously believe that the gay people will go "shit! You're right, if we were extension cords, you couldn't plug us together! Clearly we are not natural!" without then thinking "wait, neither are extension cords..."?

2. Yesterday I accumulated much good karma. I got into the train station downtown early, so I stopped by Reading Terminal to buy something for lunch, and ran into a huge group of junior high and high school students who were in town for some debate thing and had been given ten minutes in groups of five or more to find and eat breakfast. Ten minutes! At Reading Terminal, which is largely closed at eight am! *thwaps adults involved* Anyway, I was at Met Bakery when one of the adults came by with a kid in a wheelchair, looking for coffee and pastries, and I let them in front of me in line for the pastries and pointed them toward Old City Coffee. And then I ran into a group of kids wandering the aisles and saying things like "well, if I wanted raw tuna for breakfast..." and "maybe I'll just get some juice..." and pointed them toward Le Bus Bakery, and then encountered a third set of kids, with one boy playing the John Sheppard countdown role ("we have five minutes! we have four minutes and fifty seconds!") in order to encourage the others, and pointed them to Met Bakery and a smoothie place. And then more students! All in all, I spent fifteen minutes at Reading Terminal, most of it saying "okay, head down this aisle to the end and then turn left, continue up five aisles and you'll be at a coffee place..." Poor kidlets.

3. I have this Vorkosigan universe/Stargate Atlantis crossover in my head. No, I don't know either. See, it starts mid-sentence, with Miles and Gregor suddenly aware of where they are, and John's doing his "McKay, we'll be dead in thirty seconds!" thing over his shoulder, and Miles is trying to find out where they are and what's going on and who kidnapped them and shoving Gregor behind him and drawing his stunner, and Rodney's ignoring them except to say things like "yes, yes, you can thank me for saving your lives later" and "it was nothing, now shut up -- or, wait, better, go on, distract the man with the shield generator! that's a brilliant idea!" because he's not listening to a word Miles says, and John can't look at them because he's firing out the door but he's still all "argue later, McKay," and Gregor just looks bemused because it's the weirdest kidnap/assassination attempt ever, and then Rodney manages to rig the Random Ancient Equipment to protect them all just as the wraith dart self-destructs.

And then everyone yells for a while, and Rodney keeps trying to persuade them that he wasted valuable seconds beaming them out of the wraith dart so they wouldn't die, and John politely doesn't mention that it was sort of his idea, though he probably wouldn't have mentioned it if he'd known how tight the timing was going to be, and of course Miles is a paranoid bastard and doesn't believe a word of it because it can't be demonstrated, the wraith dart having kaboomed and buried them in the ruined ancient wossname until Teyla and Ronon can dig them out, and he introduces himself as Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar, and of course John and Rodney don't know where that is, which leads to another incredulous and loud-volumed digression before Miles finally says "... and this is my friend Greg" (because, while he thinks they kidnapped Gregor on purpose, he's not positive, and why risk it) and McKay says "and does he ever talk?" and Gregor has to stifle laughter and eventually they all agree to keep on with the paranoia but stop the yelling, especially because Miles can't see any way out of the ruins, but he and Gregor keep having strategy conversations in Barrayaran Greek and Rodney keeps making snide comments about how stupid they are that they can't even recognize rescue. And eventually they get to the stargate to go back to Atlantis, and Miles insists on going first and makes Gregor wait for his confirmation that it won't kill them, and oh my god you see what I mean?

I even know what kind of AR the Vorkosigan-verse is: it's one where the Ancients never made it to the Milky Way, so there are no stargates, just natural wormholes, and thus there are no Goa'uld manipulating Ancient technology. And then there are conversations about whether the mirror can take them back to a universe in which that same mirror doesn't exist, and Miles is still being a suspicious bastard, and so on.

Seriously. Where did this come from?

4. I saw a girl today wearing camouflage flip-flops. With heels. And a little camo-tassel. Very disconcerting.

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